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2020-2021 Previews

By Georgia Grappler, 07/10/20, 11:00AM AKDT

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Class 2A/3A Duals Area 5-8

With the GHSA conducting their spring meetings in late June, we are now somewhat certain about what the postseason will look like. 

For the State Duals, classes 1A, 2A, and 3A will undergo a little bit of a makeover, and will have different classification assignments for State Duals and State Traditional.  For the State Duals series 1A and 2A Private schools will compete together, completely separated from the public schools.  1A public schools and some 2A public schools will be placed together in a classification, and the 3A public schools will be combined with the rest of the 2A public schools to form the final classification.  When we get to the Traditional State tournaments, public and private schools will be back together and each school, 1A-7A, will compete in its designated classification.

Class 2A/3A Area 5

Teams: Carver-Atl., Cedar Grove, Columbia, GAC, Redan, Salem, Therrell, Westminster

8 team Area that sees schools from 4 different classification coming together.  Columbia and Carver are dropping down from 5A, while Therrell competed in 2A last season.  Salem was in 4A and Cedar Grove, GAC, Redan, and Westminster all competed in 3A.   There are only 2 returning State Placers in this Area, with a total of 6 returning State qualifiers.

In this Area, the teams with a full lineup, or close to it, will be the teams that are able to finish top 4 in the Area Duals.  GAC and Redan both have 5 returning Sectional qualifiers, and this gives them a leg up on everyone else in the Area.  GAC will be led by 2x State Placer, Na'im Moss, who finished 5th at 120 last year.  Redan is bringing back 3 State qualifiers, with Joshua Graham leading the way after finishing 3rd at Sectionals last season.

Salem, Columbia, and Westminster are the only other schools that are returning Sectional qualifiers in the Area.  These 3 schools, along with GAC and Redan will be in the hunt for the Area Duals title.  Salem has 3 returning Sectional qualifiers, but none of them qualified or State.  Columba, also returns zero State qualifiers, but they do have 2 returning Sectional qualifiers.  Westminster returns 1 State qualifier, Lowell Jones, and he finished 6th at 195lbs.

Duals Predictions:
1. GAC
2. Redan
3. Westminster
4. Columbia

Best Wrestler: Moss, GAC- 120

Keep an Eye on: Mason Bruning, GAC- 152

Class 2A/3A Area 6

Teams: Coahulla Creek, Fannin Co, Gilmer, Lafayette, LFO. Murray Co, North Murray, Ringgold

This is a very solid 8 team Area with Gilmer and Lafayette dropping down from 4A to join six schools that competed together in 3A last season.  Gilmer is the only team to have qualified for the State Duals last season, where they placed 2nd behind Woodward.  However 2 other schools finished in the top 15 at the Traditional tournament with Fannin Co coming in at 11th and COahulla Creek finishing 14th.  There are 19 returning State qualifiers in the Area, with 9 of them being returning State Placers.

Gilmer is hands down the favorite to win this Area, and they will once again be in position to compete for a State Duals title.  The Bobcats are returning 8 State qualifiers, with 7 of those being returning State Placers.  The Bobcats are loaded up top, bringing back at State placer from 195 up, but they will be led by 3rd place finisher at 132 Brock Sumner.  

Fannin Co, Lafayette, and Coahulla Creek should be the teams jockeying for position for the other 3 qualifying spots.  Fannin Co returns 2 State Placers, led bu McCay Turner, who finished 3rd at 152.  Lafayette returns 5 State qualifiers from last season, with 3 of them falling just short of placing.  Coahulla Creek has 2 returning State Qualifiers.  

Murray Co returns 152 pound State qualifier Levi Bishop, but no other State qualifiers, and only 1 other Sectional qualifier.  North Murray returns 2 Sectional qualifiers, and Ringgold retuens 3 Sectional qualifiers.  Neither of those two teams has a returning State Qualifier.  LFO does not have any returning Sectional qualifiers.

Duals Prediction: 
1. Gilmer
2. Lafayette
3. Fannin Co
4. Coahulla Creek

Best Wrestler: Kainan Henson, Fannin Co-106

Keep an Eye on: Keegan Johns, Lafayette- 120

Class 2A/3A Area 7

Teams: Cherokee Bluff, Dawson Co, Lumpkin Co, North Hall, West Hall, White Co

6 team Area that will see East Forsyth added to it in 2021-22 school year.  West Hall and White Co drop down from 4A to join 4 other solid 3A schools.  North Hall is the only team from the Area to qualify for the State Duals, where they finished 1st.  However all of the schools scored points at the Traditional State Tournament, including Lumpkin Co, who finished 3rd.  There are 11 returning State Placers in the Area with 17 returning State qualifiers. 

North Hall is absolutely loaded and should roll to another Area Duals title.  The Trojans return 7 State qualifiers and all of them are returning State Placers, including State Champions Jacob Pedraza at 120lbs and Dalton Battle at 152lbs. 

The remaining 5 teams all are close to one another as far as returning qualifiers, and should have quite a slug fest for the remaining 3 spots in the State Duals tournament.  White Co returns the most sectional qualifiers, with 6, and the Warriors also have 2 returning State Placers, led by State Runner-up Devin Sullens at heavyweight.  Cherokee Bluff returns the most State qualifiers of the group, with 3, and they will be led by 6th place finisher at 126 lbs, Hayden Biggs.  Dawson Co has 5 returning Sectional qualifiers, but only 2 of them qualified for State.  The Tigers will be led by Ethan Powell, who was 1 match away from placing at 126 after getting into the State Tournament as an alternate.  Lumpkin Co returns 1 State qualifier, 5th place finisher at 132lbs, Jack Irwin.  West Hall returns 2 State qualifiers and 4 Sectional qualifiers.

Duals Predictions:
1. North Hall
2. White Co
3. Cherokee Bluff
4. Lumpkin Co

Best Wrestler: Pedraza, North Hall-120

Keep an Eye on: Trevor Cowart, Dawson Co- 113

Class 2A/3A Area 8

Teams: East Jackson, Franklin Co, Hart Co, Monroe Area, Oconee Co, Stephens Co

Oconee Co and Stephens Co will both be dropping down from 4A to compete with the other 4 schools, that all competed in 3A last season.  None of these teams qualified for the State Duals last season, and only Franklin Co finished in the Top 20 at the State Traditional Tournament.  There are 16 returning State Qualifiers, but only 2 of them are a returning State Placer.

Oconee Co definitly returns the most firepower in the Area, and they have the clearest path to the Area Duals Championship.  The Warriors are returning 9 Sectional Qualifiers, with 5 of them being State Qualifiers.  

Stephens Co and Hart Co will both be bringing back 6 Sectional qualifiers, and they look to be the best bets to knock off Oconee.  Stephens has 2 State Qualifiers coming back with Nathaniel Walker picking up 1 win in Macon at 170lbs.  Hart Co has 3 returning State Qualifiers and they wil undoubtedly be led by 6th place finisher at 132lbs, George Honioles.

Franklin Co will also be in the mix to win the Area Duals title, as they bring back 4 State Qualifiers. 3 of the 4 returning State qualifiers were 1 match away from placing, and if they can fill the other 10 weights with some quality kids, they will give Oconee a run for their money in the Area Duals finals.

Monroe Area brings back the other returning State Placer in the Area, Bernard Manga, who finished 5th at 195.  He is the only returning State Qualifier for the Hurricanes.  East Jackson returns only 1 State Qualifier.

Duals Predictions:
1. Oconee Co
2. Franklin Co
3. Stephens Co
4. Hart Co.

Best Wrestler: Manga, Monroe Area- 195

Leep an Eye on: Alexander Bradshear, Hart Co- 152

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